August 31, 2015

Guest room makeover: from vile violet to green goodness

It has come as quite the surprise to me that completely changing a room’s look in our home gives me such a great feeling. Living in a few rental houses as a kid meant that I never really got into decorating my bedroom and personalising it beyond putting a few band posters on the walls with blu-tak.

Now that BB and I are living in what we hope will be our home for more than a few years (at least until Stevie is old and grey), we're really loving taking the time to transform it into 'our place'. Now don't misunderstand, there's no renovating required, one of our provisos when we bought was that it could be comfortably lived in straight away; but there were definitely places where we could see that we'd need to add our own touches.

The guest bedroom was always going to be the first room we painted. (Let it be known that when I say 'we' in the context of painting, I invariably mean BB.) When we took our first spin through the house at an inspection, I got quite a shock when faced with a neon purple feature wall in one of the bedrooms, when the rest of the house was entirely beige and white.

The purple feature wall was such an eyesore, and didn't suit any of the other rooms or furnishings in our home.

The guest room is a great size, perfect for a decent queen bed and bedside tables, with a fantastic white plantation shutters like the rest of the house, and a large built-in wardrobe with heinous beige sliding doors (but they're a project for another day). We decided early on that we wanted to paint most of the house Dulux Natural White, which would keep the polished concrete floors from making our house feel too dark; but I knew that choosing a feature wall colour would drive me insane. I'm a naturally indecisive and anxious person, and decisions like choosing paint colours always make me very uncomfortable - even thought I know paint can be changed! Here is where BB was a champ: after three days of me trying to decide on a great green, he went to the paint store while I was at work, chose a colour, bought a tin, and came home to paint the wall! I arrived home that night expecting to go through more options with him, and he'd already done it. More reasons I love him... he chose Dulux Banana Palm, partly because the colour is fun and light and bright, and partly because he knew I'd love the name!

By changing the feature wall to the wall visible from the hallway, it gives this wing of a the house a really light Summery vibe instead of hiding the feature wall away.

The rest of the guest bedroom came together so easily, once I'd played around on Pinterest and Polyvore and decided on some styles I liked. I know we don't live in a giant mansion in the Hamptons, but I really love that fresh feeling that those sorts of home have - simple and summery all year round.

Polyvore was a great place to find and collate inspiration and start to 'see' the room come together.

The beautiful Summery 'This is the Life' print by local designer Hark Home is already a favourite, and looks great with the green wall, but I think I want to move it into my lounge room so I can see it more often!

I'm thrilled that we ended up able to find and use so many of the pieces that I was hoping would work in this room, especially the three Escape to Paradise cushions in teal watercolour and classic palmtree print. 

Walking past or into this room now is such a delight, and because we've made this effort and it looks gorgeous, it's less likely to be turned into an unused space or that old standard of guest rooms... the junk room! Next on my list for that room is to think about a few little comforts that guests might like handy - think a basket filled with phone chargers, spare toothbrushes, our WiFi password (I love this printable from Tomfo!), refreshing face wipes, local magazines, anything that makes them feel comfortable to lounge in there for as long as they like.

Do you have a specific guest room in your home, and how have you styled it? When you're a houseguest, what sort of little touches make you feel more comfortable?

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August 23, 2015

Life lately: why I'm not taking many outfit photos

I used to take a LOT of selfies. Pretty much every second photo I shared on Instagram or Facebook was a 'what I'm wearing' pic. And you might have noticed that I don't do that very often lately. And you might even (if you care a smidge for me) have wondered why.

There are a few reasons. The first big one is that I'm just not feeling inspired by my wardrobe and the outfit combinations I have in front of me when I'm standing staring at the rails of clothes in the mornings. This comes and goes, and doesn't worry me very much.

The second reason is that I wear a uniform a lot now. Le sigh. A red Dri-fit polo shirt, three days a week. I wear this with any of a number of black Lorna Jane shorts/cargo pants/tracksuit pants (yes... I wear trackies to work) and sneakers, either black or white. Now do you understand why I don't snap many pics of myself in this gorgeous get-up?

Red = not my favourite.

The pants that were issued to me with my shirt were so hideous, that I think even classing them as golf shorts was flattering. Knee-length, multi-pocketed, high-waisted shorts are not going to work on even the most slender of bodies, and on my curves... NO. So I pull the ol' LJ Flashdance shorts and pants out of the wardrobe for work, and try to make an effort by putting my hair in a bun or a braid. Yep, that's the extent of my creativity. I would LOVE to tart up a polo shirt-shorts combo a bit more, but I'm stumped. If you've got suggestions, please let me know!

The third reason is that I worry about people judging me. Yup, I'm like everyone else out there, and way too concerned with other people's opinions.

'Hang on,' you say, 'isn't that why people post selfies and outfit photos on Instagram though? For others to look at and judge?'

Why no, my dear friends. No it's damn well not. I post outfit photos because I like seeing other outfit photos, and I feel inspired by style bloggers (completely separate from fashion bloggers, because who has the funds to keep up with fashion?) who wear a really cute striped tee with a denim vest over the top and I think 'Hey! I've got striped tees and denim vests, I'll try that. And maybe, just maybe, someone might look at my (probably coral and/or stripe tee) outfit and think 'That's cute, I might wear my stuff like that'. Or they might not, and that's ok too.

But I don't think it's ok for regular people to be judged on their everyday style choices. Celebrities who are famous for being celebrities, sure. I mean, I'll rag on Kim Kardashian's poor choice of ankle-strap stilettos until the sun comes up, but if a mum from Melbourne wants to wear those, good on her. Kim K (and pretty much anyone else in her clique) wear clothes TO GET REACTIONS from us, and from the media. Normal people wear clothes so their private parts don't show. Yes, double standards; but I never said things were fair.

All this to say that I had a brutal customer experience at work a month or so ago, and have only just noticed that it's affected how I get dressed in the morning, and how I share images of myself on social media. And I want to get myself out of that slump.

I bought these tights from work. I harboured no delusions that I would look like the above bum-model when I wore them, I just loved the print. It reminded me of a Finch swimsuit I had and loved as a 10 year old, and that made me happy. Lesson one: buy things that make you happy.

I was so excited about them that I wore said tights to work the day after I bought them (who doesn't do that? Nobody, that's who). I took a couple of pics in the fit room before work to send to my bestie (who is as much of a Lorna Jane print tight lover as me) and thought I might also share on Instagram later in the day. Lesson two: share outfit pics on Instagram shortly after you take them, don't overthink it.

Who matches their green smoothie jar to their workout tights? Lorna Jane girls do, that's who.

Before I got the chance to go sit in the sun on my lunchbreak, read excellent text compliments from my best friend on my new tights, and post a photo on Instagram, a customer walked instore and insulted me. Ok, so she didn't just come in and smack me in the face with cruel words, but she really hurt me. She wanted tights for exercise (you're in the right place, lady), the conversation was running along nicely, and after I explained the lengths of tights available, she told me what she wanted, so I pointed at mine, and confirmed 'You'd like a 7/8 style, like the ones I'm wearing?' (Retail 101. Always confirm what they want, because sometimes they explain very, very poorly.)

Her response almost floored me. 'No way, I don't want those. I don't think bigger girls like you should ever wear printed tights.' With a sneer. I smiled of course, and handed the customer over to a collegue. Then went and ate my body weight in avocado and fetta on Turkish bread because carbs.

Who even? I thought we clarified I was talking about the LENGTH OF THE TIGHTS, you muppet. Apparently not. And apparently you have rules on who should wear what. To which I say, leggings are pants. And print schmint. But that little exchange did upset me. I didn't post my photos on Instagram for a day or so, because I felt that I looked a lot bigger in them, and that I would get similar comments if I posted the photos. Lucky for me, my Instagram community are lovely. Lesson three: believe compliments, ignore criticism.

Lots of likes and love from my peeps on Instagram. Gems, all of you.

The first thing I did to drag my mind out of that 'Katy, you're horrible' place this weekend was read Melissa of Suger Coat It's new eBook '10 ways to be happy in your skin' and then I wrote her an email telling her that she was a genius. If you ever doubt your ability to shine in the body you have, this is exactly the book you should be reading. She's a delight. (Not sponsored, gifted or anything, it just resonated like crazy with me.) Lesson four: read wise words.

Get this awesomeness here

The second thing was to spend some time with people (pets are people too, for the kidless) who think I'm awesome just as I am. I mean, sure... my puppy would probably prefer that her mum was a super-runner who could take her for 5km jogs along the beach every day. And BB would just adore it if I had Christie Brinkley's bum. But I don't, and they love me so much. Lesson five: good husbands and dogs never lie, and always love.

The third thing is that I've consciously decided that I'll share more outfit photos. The good, the bad and the ugly.

Do you have any hot tips on feeling better about posting outfit photos? Have you ever had days, weeks, months, where you feel like you can't share?

And how would you have (politely) responded to a comment like the one I got at work?

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